(FALL 2023 COURSE LISTINGS PACKET)
Classes are listed alphabetically according to their first department listing. For the most up-to-date listings, check the Yale Course Search website. To add or remove a course from this list, email email@example.com.
Last updated 8/17/23
Please note that this list may change as courses are added.
AFAM 771 (17673) / HIST 729 / AMST 830
The American Carceral State
This readings course examines the historical development of the U.S. carceral state, focusing on policing practices, crime control policies, prison conditions, and the production of scientific knowledge in the twentieth century. Key works are considered to understand the connections between race and the development of legal and penal systems over time, as well as how scholars have explained the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in America. Drawing from key insights from new histories in the field of American carceral studies, we trace the multifaceted ways in which policymakers and officials at all levels of government have used criminal law, policing, and imprisonment as proxies for exerting social control in communities of color throughout U.S. history.
AFST 833 (17676) / HIST 833
Agrarian History of Africa
This course examines changes in African rural life from precolonial times to the present. Issues to be examined include land use systems, rural modes of production, gender roles, markets and trade, the impact of colonialism, cash cropping, rural-urban migration, and development schemes.
AFST 889 (18546) / ENGL 889 / CPLT 889
This seminar examines the intersections of postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as the tensions between these conceptual nodes, with readings drawn from across the global South. Topics of discussion include colonialism, development, resource extraction, globalization, ecological degradation, nonhuman agency, and indigenous cosmologies. The course is concerned with the narrative strategies affording the illumination of environmental ideas. We begin by engaging with the questions of postcolonial and world literature and return to these throughout the semester as we read primary texts, drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. We consider African ecologies in their complexity from colonial through post-colonial times. In the unit on the Caribbean, we take up the transformations of the landscape from slavery, through colonialism, and the contemporary era. Turning to Asian spaces, the seminar explores changes brought about by modernity and globalization as well as the effects on both humans and nonhumans. Readings include the writings of Zakes Mda, Aminatta Forna, Helon Habila, Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ishimure Michiko, and Amitav Ghosh. The course prepares students to respond to key issues in postcolonial ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, analyze the work of the major thinkers in the fields, and examine literary texts and other cultural productions from a postcolonial perspective. Course participants have the option of selecting from a variety of final projects. Students can craft an original essay that analyzes primary text from a postcolonial and/or ecocritical perspective. Such work should aim at producing new insight on a theoretical concept and/or the cultural text. They can also produce an undergraduate syllabus for a course at the intersection of postcolonialism and environmentalism or write a review essay discussing three recent monographs focused on postcolonial ecocriticism.
ANTH 541 (18529) / ENV 836 / HIST 965 / PLSC 779
Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
Jonathan Wyrtzen and Marcela Echeverri Munoz
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
ANTH 963 (17677) / HIST 963 / HSAR 841 / HSHAM 691
Topics in the Environmental Humanities
Paul Sabin and Sunil Amrith
This is the required workshop for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities. The workshop meets six times per term to explore concepts, methods, and pedagogy in the environmental humanities, and to share student and faculty research. Each student pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities must complete both a fall term and a spring term of the workshop, but the two terms of student participation need not be consecutive. The fall term each year emphasizes key concepts and major intellectual currents. The spring term each year emphasizes pedagogy, methods, and public practice. Specific topics vary each year. Students who have previously enrolled in the course may audit the course in a subsequent year. This course does not count toward the coursework requirement in history. Open only to students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities.
ARCH 1228 (22314)
Ruins, Ruination and Reuse
Architectural ruins index the total failure of individual buildings, technologies, economies, or, at times, entire civilizations. This course researches the topics of ruination and architectural ruins—what produces them, what defines them, and how they impact individuals, cities, and civilizations on levels from the visual and formal to the philosophical and psychological. The formal and visual materials of this course emerge from the study of ruins from not only the past and present, but also the future, through research into the speculative territories of online “ruin porn,” new genres of art practice, and in particular dystopian television and film projects that reveal an intense contemporary cultural interest in apocalyptic themes. While significant nineteenth-century theories of architectural ruination, including those of John Ruskin (anti-restoration) and Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (pro-restoration), are addressed, the primary intellectual position of the course emerges from readings and discussions of the philosophical methodology of “ruination.” Student projects involve the philosophical and aesthetic ruination of iconic architectural projects to determine not only their essential qualities, but hidden, latent ones as well. Subsequent group discussion of this work vacillates between philosophical and aesthetic poles in an attempt to tease out new observations on these projects as well as on the nature of ruins and ruination. The self-designed final project is determined pending consultation between the students and instructor, but involves photorealistic failure of past, present, or future architectural or urban projects; dystopic visual speculations; fabrication experiments that test actual material decay and failure; or attempts to reproduce the aesthetic ambitions of ruin porn through the manipulation of existing, or the design of new, projects. The goal of the course is not to convey an existing body of architectural knowledge, but to unearth a new architectural discourse that considers architecture in reverse—emphasizing its decay rather than its creation in an effort to reveal new territories of architectural agency. Limited enrollment.
ARCH 1248 (22453)
Cartographies of Climate Change
Climate change disproportionately affects the people and places with the least power and resources. As our sea levels have risen, so too has the extreme socioeconomic disparity of specific communities and countries, creating a drowning class of climate refugees. Entire countries on the front lines of sea-level rise face the specter of nationhood without territory, despite the undeniable fact that their contribution to this global problem is negligible. And if climate change is in fact “the result of human activity since the mid-20th century,” it is in actuality a largely male-made phenomenon, if we unpack the gender dynamics and underlying power structures of the proto-G8 nations, the self-proclaimed leaders of industrialization. These power dynamics become even further exacerbated as we consider the implications of the particularly American interest in doubling down on investing in the heaviest piece of infrastructure ever—climate engineering. The architectural community appears to be in agreement. Climate change is a fundamental design problem. And yet calls to action have been ineffectual, responses underwhelming in the face of this overwhelming challenge. As the architectural community is eagerly poised to jump on the design bandwagon, this course seeks to reveal, foreground, empower, and give physical form to the spatial dimensions and power dynamics of the people and places most impacted by climate change. More broadly, the course aspires to help students develop their own critical stance on climate change and the role architects play.
ARCH 1249 (22316)
This course is an investigation of the ways technology, which now mediates data through spatial computing platforms such as extended reality (XR), will continue to impact our relationship with the built environment and the architect’s role in the development of these new digital horizons. Our exploration in XR includes a special guest instructor, Olalekan Jeyifous, a visual artist whose work explores visions of the future as a critique of contemporary social structures though the creation of dystopian realities describing urban issues, politics, art, and popular culture as expressions of the black diaspora within the disappearing urban ephemera of places like Brooklyn, New York, where his practice is based. Together, we explore the existing urban condition as an environment co-constitutive of other realities such as social structures, institutionalized injustice, and prevailing false narratives expressed as imagined futures in the form of non-static immersive experiences of the city. These imagined futures reveal the thin line between hope and despair as expressions of uncomfortable truths about the current trajectories of society.
ARCH 1250 (22317)
The architectural plan is an index of architectural values—of how buildings configure people in relation to each other. Historically, the plan was the means through which architects deployed principles of proportion, composition, uniformity, montage, and figuration. It expresses the underlying ethics and ideologies of the architecture; evidences the background environment of building technologies, rules, regulations, conventions, and customs; and traces the power relations that buildings enact. The recent return of the plan as a topic of discourse and focus of architectural energy suggests renewed interest in the correlation of form and politics that the plan describes. This course sketches the history of plan making in the west during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Beaux Arts composition to modern “non-composition,” before focusing on the scattershot discourse about the plan today. Rather than positing a single grand thesis about the contemporary plan, the course foregrounds the countless threads of plan making evident today and asks students to identify the underlying ideas, histories, and implications of specific plans.
ARCH 2222 (22326)
The Mechanical Eye
This course examines the human relationship to mechanized perception in art and architecture. Mechanical eyes, such as satellites, rovers, computer vision, and autonomous sensing devices, give us unprecedented access to nonhuman and superhuman views into known and unknown environments. But the technology of automatic observation alienates human observers and fools them into thinking that this is an unemotional, inhuman point of view due to its existence in a numeric or digital domain. The observer is looking at seemingly trustworthy data that has been “flattened” or distilled from the real world. But this face-value acceptance should be rejected; interpreters of this device data should interrogate the motives, biases, or perspectives informing the “artist” in this case (that is, the developer/programmer/engineer who created the devices). Despite the displacement of direct human observation, mechanical eyes present in remote sensing, LiDAR scanning, trail-cams, metagenomic sequencing, urban informatics, and hyperspectral imaging have become fundamental to spatial analysis. But as these become standard practice, observers should also be trained in cracking open the data to understand the human perspective that originally informed it. In this class, students investigate the impact of the mechanical eye on cultural and aesthetic inquiry into a specific site. They conceptually consider their role as interpreter for the machine and create a series of site analysis experiments across a range of mediums. The experiments are based on themes of inversion, mirroring, portraiture, memory, calibration, and foregrounding to “unflatten” data into structure and form. Limited enrollment.
ARCH 2242 (22327)
Slavery, Its Legacies, and the Built Environment
Phillip Bernstein, Luis C.deBaca, and Jordan Carver
This collaboration of the Law School and School of Architecture is taught in conjunction with the University of Michigan Law School’s Problem Solving Initiative. The course examines the legal and social impact of modern and historic forms of slavery and involuntary servitude. Drawing from the disciplines of law, history, land use, architecture, and others, student teams assemble a final portfolio that will inform a spring 2022 School of Architecture studio course that will design a national slavery memorial on the Washington, D.C., waterfront. This course satisfies the ABA Experiential Learning requirement.
ARCH 3105 (22335)
Designing Capital: Histories of Architecture and Accumulation
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ARCH 3240 (22339)
Spatial Concepts of Japan: Their Origins and Development in Architecture and Urbanism
The seminar explores the origins and developments of Japanese spatial concepts and surveys how they help form the contemporary architecture, ways of life, and cities of the country. Many Japanese spatial concepts, such as ma, are about creating time-space distances and relationship between objects, people, space, and experiences. These concepts go beyond the fabric of a built structure and encompass architecture, landscape, and city. Each class is designed around one or two Japanese words that signify particular design concepts. Each week, a lecture on the word(s) with its design features, backgrounds, historical examples, and contemporary application is followed by student discussion. Contemporary works studied include those by Maki, Isozaki, Ando, Ito, SANAA, and Fujimoto. The urbanism and landscape of Tokyo and Kyoto are discussed. Students are required to make in-class presentations and write a final paper. Limited enrollment.
ARCH 3252 (22340)
Landscape, Film, Architecture
Movement through post-1945 landscapes and cityscapes as a key to understanding them. The use of cameras and other visual-verbal means as a way to expand historical, aesthetic, and sociological inquiries into how these places are inhabited and experienced. Exploration of both real and imaginary spaces in works by filmmakers (Wenders, Herzog, Ottinger, Geyrhalter, Seidl, Ade, Grisebach), architects and sculptors (e.g. Rudofsky, Neutra, Abraham, Hollein, Pichler, Smithson, Wurm, Kienast), photographers (Sander, B. and H. Becher, Gursky, Höfer), and writers (Bachmann, Handke, Bernhard, Jelinek). Additional readings by Certeau, Freytag, J.B. Jackson, L. Burckhardt.
ARCH 3301 (22342)
New York as Incubator of Twentieth-Century Urbanism: Four Urban Thinkers & The City They Envisioned
The seminar is constructed as a debate among the ideas of four urban thinkers whose influential contributions to the discourse of the modern city were shaped by their divergent responses to New York City’s urban and architectural development: Lewis Mumford (1895–1990), Robert Moses (1888–1981), Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), and Rem Koolhaas (1944–). In counterposing their respective arguments, the seminar addresses issues of civic representation and environmentalism, infrastructure development and urban renewal policy, community and complexity, and the role of architecture in the urban imaginary. The focus is twofold: on the contribution of the “urban intellectual” to the making of culture; and on New York’s architectural and urban history. New York has been called the capital of the twentieth century. By reassessing the legacy and agency of these visionary thinkers, the seminar not only reflects on New York’s evolution over the course of the last century but raises questions about the future of cities in the twenty-first century. A selection of historical and theoretical material complements seminal readings by the four protagonists. Each student is responsible for making two case-study presentations and producing a thematically related term paper. Limited enrollment.
ARCH 3303 (22343)
The Urban Century: Theorizing Global Urbanism
From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, urbanization has gradually come to dominate political, economic, social, and cultural landscapes of the contemporary world. To be urban was to be modern, and the development of modern social theory relied on using the city as its research laboratory. Two decades into the twenty-first century, features of urbanization such as density, resource extraction, environmental degradation, and intense social inequalities appear to be ubiquitous across different geopolitical conditions. This course presents students with a range of theories that attempt to make sense of the variegated and intersecting conditions that define contemporary urban localities. Building on the understanding offered by these theories, we conclude with an exploration of emerging positions, concepts, and propositions that enable new ways of understanding the centrality of urbanism within a world dominated by uncertainty, speculation, and dystopia.
ARCH 3322 (22345)
Mutualism: Spatial Activism and Planetary Political Solidarity
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ARCH 4222 (22348)
History of Western European Landscape Architecture
This course presents an introductory survey of the history of gardens and the interrelationship of architecture and landscape architecture in Western Europe from antiquity to 1700, focusing primarily on Italy. The course examines chronologically the evolution of several key elements in landscape design: architectural and garden typologies; the boundaries between inside and outside; issues of topography and geography; various uses of water; organization of plant materials; and matters of garden decoration, including sculptural tropes. Specific gardens or representations of landscape in each of the four periods under discussion—Ancient Roman, medieval, early and late Renaissance, and Baroque—are examined and situated within their own cultural context. Throughout the seminar, comparisons of historical material with contemporary landscape design are emphasized. Limited enrollment.
ARCH 4294 (22351)
Reckoning with Environmental Uncertainty
This seminar will focus on a series of historical episodes since 1200 C.E. that present different approaches to reckoning environmental uncertainty to develop specific social and spatial configurations. Topics range from anthropogenic forests in southern China to seafaring across the Pacific Ocean and from patchworks of agriculture and urban centers throughout the Gangetic plains to the proliferation of observatories across the globe to monitor weather patterns. What ties these diverse places and histories together is but one goal: to understand how strategies for claiming knowledge are entangled with environmental uncertainty. The aim of this course will be to assemble, and consider spatially, a variety of approaches to how people have come to know the world around them and what they have done to account for change.
ENV 642 (21672)
Environmental Justice/Climate Justice
In this course, we focus on the evolution and development of the environmental justice movement. We pay particular attention to its embrace of climate justice, and we ask what conception of justice is at play in both the environmental justice and climate justice movements. We begin with a legal and social-historical survey but quickly bring the inquiry up to the current moment. We explore the legal and policy developments that have followed the environmental justice critique.
ENV 750 (21689)
Writing the World
This is a practical writing course meant to develop the student’s skills as a writer. But its real subject is perception and the writer’s authority—the relationship between what you notice in the world around you and what, culturally speaking, you are allowed to notice. What you write during the term is driven entirely by your own interest and attention. How you write is the question at hand. We explore the overlapping habitats of language—present and past—and the natural environment. And, to a lesser extent, we explore the character of persuasion in environmental themes. Every member of the class writes every week, and we all read what everyone writes every week. It makes no difference whether you are a would-be journalist, scientist, environmental advocate, or policy maker. The goal is to rework your writing and sharpen your perceptions, both sensory and intellectual. Enrollment limited to fifteen.
ENV 878 (21729)
Climate and Society: Past to Present
Seminar on the major traditions of thought and debate regarding climate, climate change, and society, drawing largely on the social sciences and humanities. Section I, overview of the course. Section II, disaster: the social origins of disastrous events; and the attribution of societal “collapse” to extreme climatic events. Section III, causality: the revelatory character of climatic perturbation; politics and the history of efforts to control weather/climate; and nineteenth–twentieth-century theories of environmental determinism. Section IV, history and culture: the ancient tradition of explaining differences among people in terms of differences in climate; and cross-cultural differences in views of climate. Section V, knowledge: the study of folk knowledge of climate; and local views of climatic perturbation and change. Section VI, politics: knowledge, humor, and symbolism in North-South climate debates. The goal of the course is to examine the embedded historical, cultural, and political drivers of current climate change debates and discourses. This course can be applied towards Yale College distributional requirements in Social Science and Writing. The course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Enrollment capped.
ER&M 730 (18521)
Race, Migration, and Coloniality in Europe
Europe’s rise to global dominance is inseparable from the invention of race as a key structuring principle of modernity. Yet, despite the geographic and intellectual origin of this concept in Europe and the explicitly race-based policies of both its fascist regimes and its colonial empires, the continent often is marginal at best in discourses on race. This is particularly true for contemporary configurations, which are often closely identified with the United States as center of both structural racism and of resistance to it. Europe diverges from the US model of racialization in ways that tend to be misread, especially on the continent itself, as the absence of race as a relevant social and political category. Accordingly, most Europeans continue to believe that racial thinking has had no lasting impact on the continent, that race matters everywhere but in Europe and is brought there exclusively through non-white others, whose presence is perpetually perceived as recent, temporary, and problematically upsetting a prior non-racial normalcy. Contrary to this perception, while racial slavery and native dispossession and genocide were foundational to the United States, in Europe, the racializing of religion and colonialism fundamentally shaped and continue to shape the continental identity. Until recently, however, this history was virtually absent from public debates, official commemorations, and policy decisions. This course is devoted to exploring the numerous counter-histories challenging the dominant narrative of European “colorblindness,” among them the long history of European Roma and Sinti, the racialization of Muslims, the mainstreaming of white supremacy and the ongoing “refugee crisis,” European economic neocolonialism in Africa, anti-Blackness and the legacies of slavery and colonialism, the relationship between racism and anti-Semitism, and strategies of resistance by racialized communities.
F&ES 501a / ANTH 581a
Power, Knowledge, and the Environment
Introductory graduate course on the social science of contemporary environmental and natural resource challenges, paying special attention to issues involving power and knowledge. Section I, overview of the course. Section II, disasters and environmental perturbation: pandemics, and the social dimensions of disaster. Section III, power and politics: river restoration in Nepal; the conceptual boundaries of resource systems, and the political ecology of water in Mumbai. Section IV, methods: the dynamics of working within development projects; and a multi-sited study of irrigation in Egypt. Section V, local communities: representing the poor, development discourse, and indigenous peoples and knowledge. The goal of the course is to develop analytic distance from current conservation and development debates and discourses. This is a core course for MEM students in YSE, and a core course in the combined YSE/Anthropology degree program. Enrollment is capped.
FREN 841 (20169)
Plant, Animal, Man: The Necessary “Art of Conference”
This seminar examines the relationships between three terms: man, animal, and plant. Cultural history has long privileged the man-animal dyad. We try to understand how in early modern Europe discursive representations, sensitive to the dynamic interactions between these three communities, have built a shared history. We are brought back to the etymology of the term “ecology”: these three areas of life interact in the same medium, oikos, that can be physical as well as textual. Our investigation thus attempts to sketch an archaeology of Western thought on life, the challenge being to reconstitute a forgotten model of reflection on the community between humanity and other forms of life. Readings in a multidisciplinary corpus that includes medical, legal, and theological productions; agronomic and hunting literature; herbaria; natural history books (Belon, Rondelet, Aldrovandi); travel accounts (Jean de Léry, Thevet); poetry (Ronsard, Baïf, Madeleine and Catherine des Roches); fiction (Alberti, Rostand, Sorel); autobiographical texts (Montaigne, Agrippa d’Aubigné); treatises (Du Bellay, Henri Estienne). Conducted in French.
GLBL 6105 (22241)
Food and Power in U.S. Foreign Relations
More than simply “sustenance,” food has played a pivotal role in the shaping of societies, the development of nations, and waging of war throughout human history. This course examines the histories of food production and consumption in the United States, with a focus on how food guided American interactions with peoples, markets, and governments across the globe. Readings explore the many ways food, as a physical object and social symbol, shaped American foreign relations in formal and informal ways. Our patterns of consumption not only reflect how we see ourselves—we are what we eat—but also draw important distinctions between friend and foe, who we welcome at our table and choose to break bread with. Topics include empire and exploitation, government regulation, matters of taste, war and famine, agriculture and nutritional science, consumer politics, industrial food production, and the globalization of food systems. Students are introduced to the field of U.S. food studies and exposed to a variety of methodologies and styles to better understand how American agricultural abundance shaped U.S. foreign policy in the twentieth century.
HSAR 565 (18872)
The Media of Architecture and the Architecture of Media
Architecture’s capacity to represent a world and to intervene in the world has historically depended on techniques of visualization. This seminar draws on a range of media theoretical approaches to examine the complex and historically layered repertoire of visual techniques within which architecture operates. We approach architecture not as an autonomous entity reproduced by media, but as a cultural practice advanced and debated through media and mediations of various kinds (visual, social, material, and financial). If questions of media have played a key role in architectural theory and history over the past three decades, recent scholarship in the field of media theory has insisted on the architectural, infrastructural, and environmental dimensions of media. The seminar is organized around nine operations whose technical and historical status will be examined through concrete examples. To do so, the seminar presents a range of differing approaches to media and reflects on their implications for architectural and spatial practices today. Key authors include Giuliana Bruno, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Beatriz Colomina, Robin Evans, Friedrich Kittler, Bruno Latour, Reinhold Martin, Shannon Mattern, Marshall McLuhan, Felicity Scott, and Bernhard Siegert, among others.
HIST 883 (17659)
Urban Japan Workshop: Cities and Society, c. 1500–2000
Japan is not only home to the largest and, by some measures, most livable, city in the world today, but also it boasts one of the richest archives for the study of urban history. The Urban Japan Workshop offers graduate students and advanced undergraduates the opportunity to explore the rich scholarly literature on Japanese cities across time, while also developing their own individual research projects.
REL 619 (21819)
Eco-Futures: Theology, Ethics, Imagination
The looming dangers of climate change, especially given the inadequacy of the global political response, are now evident. Many of those who are paying attention find themselves feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and hopeless in the face of increasing natural disasters, rapidly disappearing species, and compounding environmental injustices. This class begins from these challenges. It asks: Can we sustain hope in a just and sustainable ecological future? Should we sustain such a hope? If so, what would such a future look like? Can we imagine a future beyond fossils fuels, beyond exploitative and extractivist relations among humans and between humans and the more-than-human world? Can we imagine a decolonial future, a future of multispecies justice? How do these hopes and visions interact with ultimate religious hopes? How should these hopes and visions shape our actions and emotions in this moment? We approach these issues by reading theological and ethical works together with future-oriented speculative fiction: sci-fi, Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurism, solarpunk, hopepunk. We assess the speculative futures theologically and ethically while also allowing these speculative futures to shape our theological and ethical visions.
REL 827 (20686)
Introduction to Ecospirituality
This course considers the link between ecology and spirituality, concentrating on practical wisdom and experiences that deepen awareness of the ecological crisis and appreciation of our shared belonging within the Earth community. The seminar examines various historical and contemporary resources within Christianity and other religious traditions. Ecofeminism, ecowomanism, and Indigenous teachings inform themes of creation care, interdependence, and ecojustice. Participants are invited to attend to the sacred in their relationship with the natural world, join in “greening” spiritual practice, and discern a pastoral response that fosters the flourishing of all creation. This study seeks to more fully integrate the values of respect, compassion, and connectedness into daily life and ministry. Learning methods include collaborative discourse, analyses of diverse texts and art forms, engagement in ecospiritual practices, creative writing and expression, and design of an “eco-ministry” proposal. Area IV.